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Nestle Nutr Workshop Ser Pediatr Program. 2009;64:105-15; discussion 116-20, 251-7. doi: 10.1159/000235786. Epub 2009 Aug 19.

Eosinophilic esophagitis: example of an emerging allergic manifestation?

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Department of Gastroenterology and Clinical Nutrition, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Over the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of children and adults with eosinophilic esophagitis (EE). This recently recognized form of chronic pan-esophagitis is characterized by dense eosinophilic infiltration of the esophageal mucosa. EE is closely associated with male gender and allergic disorders, such as food allergy, eczema and asthma. The diagnosis relies on demonstration of increased numbers of eosinophils (>/= 15 per high power field) in esophageal biopsies. There is clinical overlap between EE and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Patients with EE typically present with reflux symptoms but are unresponsive to proton pump inhibitor therapy. While dysphagia, regurgitation and retrosternal pain are the clinical hallmarks of EE, many patients are asymptomatic. Treatment aims to prevent long-term complications, such as acute food bolus impaction or esophageal strictures. In childhood, treatment relies on elemental or elimination diets. Skin prick and atopy patch testing have proved useful in guiding specific dietary elimination. In adolescents and adults, broad-based elimination diets are commonly not tolerated or may be ineffective. These patients may respond to swallowed corticosteroid aerosols or other immune-modulating drugs. Further prospective clinical trials are needed to outline the most effective long-term treatment of EE.

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